The Courage of Edward Said

There are few other examples in the 20th century where a renowned intellectual lived out what he actually wrote in his books. Today's establishment academia has sadly sided with professionalizing their tradecraft at the cost of their responsibility to the public good. In an ethos sickeningly obsessed with profit over people and anything else including the very things required for our very survival, the intellectual must take-up Said's example: to live the way you write and research geared for the benefit of all people and not just corporations or private, personal interest. It's time we change that and create or a healthier ethos in which we live by a different value--a different life.

Here's a quote from Said that GCAS' researcher, Samantha Kostmayer Sulaiman pointed out to me. I should mention that Samantha not only graduated from Columbia University but has been a core organizer of GCAS (along with over 60 others) from its very inception. Thank you, Sam!

Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position, which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the responsible mainstream; someday you hope to get an honorary degree, a big prize, perhaps even an ambassadorship. For an intellectual these habits of mind are corrupting par excellence. If anything can denature, neutralize, and finally kill a passionate intellectual life it is the internalization of such habits. 

— Edward Said


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